Monday, May 01, 2006

Going Grey

I know every age has its challenges, but I’m convinced that where Jada is (about 14-15 months) is one of the more challenging. Kids this age are classic tweeners: old enough to do X, but not old enough to do Y. Let me give you a couple of examples from today that I am convinced are causing me to go grey.

First, she’s mobile enough to climb, climb, and climb all day. But her motor skills are still pretty rudimentary, to the point that she’s really wobbly going down and still is prone to teetering over and hitting her head on a corner for no apparent reason. I can’t begin to tell you how nerve-wracking it is to be reading the paper over breakfast, and have our little one get up from whatever on the floor she was playing with, head to the steep back stairs, and start her near-vertical ascent. No more breakfast or paper for me; I’ve got to get right behind her, lest she slip ever so slightly and fall a great fall. Never mind that she hasn’t yet slipped once, incredible climber that she is; the possibility that she could, and the consequences if she did, are more than enough for me to follow behind, going grey with every step.

Second, she’s smart enough for actions but not quite verbal enough for communications. So she’ll take her sock off and throw it somewhere; where I don’t know and she’s not going to help me find it. Or she’ll whimper and we’re not quite sure for what reason. We’ll tell her “No!” and she doesn’t yet understand that we don’t want her to do something, “Come here!” and we she doesn’t yet understand that we want her to turn around and come back. She’s starting to do things that warrant discipline, if only to protect her from getting hurt; and yet our disapproval or a slap on the hand or a stern finger in her face mean nothing to her.

Six months earlier, she was a much simpler creature, watching her a simpler endeavor. She couldn’t run, couldn’t much get into trouble. Six months from now, she’ll have evolved, to the point that she can talk a little or at least point, and she’ll understand a little bit about what we’re trying to say to her for her own safety and good. She’ll know how to communicate, know what we’re trying to communicate. But now she’s a tweener. And I’m going grey.
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